After two weeks in Japan, that was the longest I’d been outside the UK in my entire life.
After a month, it was the longest I’ve gone without working a shift for an employer’s profit since I was 16 years old.
At this stage, I’ve been travelling even longer than an old Summer Holiday from the school term. This is the longest I’ve been a completely free individual since I was 4 years old.
For the most part, I’ve justified this to the part of my brain that has been brainwashed by the capitalist system by thinking about the cultural, historical and spiritual education I’m getting from this adventure. Arriving on the island of Miyajima, it felt like I really was just on a big holiday.
Approaching the island by ferry from Hiroshima, the great green folds of forested mountain jutting from the waves looked like Isla Nublar from Jurassic Park. The clear blue waters reflecting the hot spring skies, the green islands and mountains disappearing into the haze, this was picturebook Japan.
My initial arrival was hampered by drama: I realised the hostel I’d booked wasn’t on the island, but the mainland part of Miyajima over the coast. Luckily, I’d not brought my full, 15kg backpack, but even my overnight bag was pretty heavy with the laptop and everything. I lugged it around the main village by the port, before eventually noticing there were actually coin lockers right where I’d landed.
Once I’d deposited my bag and jacket, I was ready to explore this island paradise.
Miyajima is most famous for its impressive Torii gate, which stands just off the shore and looks to be floating above the waves when the tides come in. I enjoyed a nice spell of sitting on the sand and looking out to sea, chomping on street food bought from the classically seaside market.
The village was also home to some other lovely temples and shrines, somehow managing to maintain their classiness even surrounded by tourist trap shops and restaurants.
The highlight of my trip wasn’t in any of these buildings. It was leaving the crowds behind and climbing the mountain.
I’m happy to say this one was much less horror movie.